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Cell. 1998 Oct 16;95(2):189-98.

Lipid A acylation and bacterial resistance against vertebrate antimicrobial peptides.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.


The Salmonellae PhoP-PhoQ virulence regulators induce resistance to host cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMP) after infection of vertebrate tissues, and Mg2+ or Ca2+ limitation. The PhoP-PhoQ activated gene, pagP, was identified as important to inducible CAMP resistance and increased acylation of lipid A, the major component of the outer leaflet of the outer membrane. pagP mutants demonstrated increased outer membrane permeability in response to CAMP, supporting the hypothesis that increased lipid A acylation is a CAMP resistance mechanism. Similarly, in response to Mg2+ limited growth, other enteric Gram-negative bacteria demonstrated increased lipid A acylation. Compounds that inhibit the ability to increase lipid A acylation may have utility as new antimicrobial agents.

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